Robot Army, a setback

The method I’ve chosen to find out where body heat is can’t be done at the price I want it. I’ve got the wrong phototransistors, or at least I’ve been told I have. I should put the two transistor test version together, and see if I can get any sensible reading, but it’s been hot and I’ve been busy and I’m a bad robot parent. I also need to tidy my room enough that I can solder in it. Even by my standards it’s been bad lately, as I’ve been working elsewhere. I’ve got borrowed kit here and there as well, which I need to move to my Place For Borrowed Kit. Maybe I’ll just fake a house fire and start again.

Itchy – next steps

I’ve got a few choices to make with Itchy right now. Do I want my own machine for making art, or do I want to make a set of machines that others can use? If I get this ready for kickstarting, it’s one path, if I make it into a better machine for me, it’s another. I really want to make the better machine, but at some point that will probably run out of money as a project. Things that I have to do for both are relatively limited in crossover, but the big one is a redesign of the head so I can put different tools on there. The pen holder and the lino cutter are two different set-ups, and I’ll want a servo for the brush pens, and so on. For me, I want to make the Y axis and the gantry far more rigid. If I make it for lots of people, I’d want to make the frame in MDF with steel rods. I guess I could convince myself I’m doing that to find out how rigid it is…

So, I’m starting with asking tech companies and art councils about funding. If that comes down to nothing, and I’m not getting enough commissions to let me do my own thing on it, I’ll streamline it for kickstarting in my spare time.

Makibox – Oozi

I bought a cheap 3D printer. Once I had bought it, I found out it was from clearance but had probably already been in some way paid for, which is annoying. Someone else didn’t get their machine, and while I know there is no direct connection between me having this and another, particular person not having it, I am still profitting in the cheapness of a clearance machine from the money that someone else put in.

That aside, and it’s not a moral problem for me given the circumstances, I’ve now got a cheap 3D printer. The hot end, where the plastic gets melted, is famously terrible on this machine. It was a new design and tiny tolerances were needed, and it didn’t quite work. And also, I broke mine. So I’ve 3D printed a different big of plastic to hold a different head, and someone who was not using an old heater end and some other bits donated them, meaning I’m still getting a cheap 3D printer rather than an expensive time sink. It’s a cheap time sink instead. Currently bits of the hot end are cable tied together and the whole thing is about as shonky as a unicycle on a rocking chair.

Microswitches and Morality – earning it

I want to buy a couple of packs of microswitches from RS Components on Friday. I don’t have enough in my bank account to cover them right now. So, really, I should not buy them on Friday. I should buy them when I’ve earned cash from painting. So, next in line on the workflow is calling up and checking where my pedlar’s license is. Grrr. This ‘work’ stuff…

Wait, other than the admin I like it. I get to paint stuff. Yep.

ETA: New licence is in the post. Somehow it got lost along the way.

Cooking Lentils and Rice

Lentils and Rice is an easy dish to make, and to keep going for a few days. There is a bit of pre-prep of lentils, according to whatever cooking method they need. In this case, I soaked some for about four hours, after rinsing them.

Take a load of Indian spices from your cupboard. I used caradmom, ginger, ground cumin, dried chillies, turmeric, and garam masala. Cut up some garlic and some fresh chillies.
Anything that’s dry, put into a hot pan and cook for about 30 seconds. Add enough butter to cook wet everything, and then put in the wet spices, which is probably just the garlic chilli mix.

Add two onions which you have minced as finely as you could before you got bored. Smile a rictus smile as they turn yellow in the turmeric. Gaze into the yellowish abyss.

Add your pre-prepped lentils and enough water that everything is a slurry. Boil that for as many hours as you can be bothered. If they are red lentils, 40 minute maximum. Add a can of chickpeas for extra texture if all the crunch has gone.

Steam some rice. There are other ways of doing it, and you’re entitled to them, but steam the damned rice. 1:1 water and rice, in the steamer. Ignore for 20 minutes. Serve. Add hot sauce of any variety you like. Eat.

More delicious things that are easy to make

Chunks of cooking chocolate tend to be too sweet to make good hot chocolate. But we can try!

Take a small handful of chocolate chips, and add about a third of a cup of milk. Microwave for a minute and stir until bored of stirring – about ten seconds. Add milk up to the top, and heat for another minute, maybe minute and a half. If necessary, wash the microwave turntable.

Squeeze in red-top Sriracha until it’s no longer far too sweet to drink. Wander around kitchen drinking and wincing, but unable to put down cup of burny hot happiness.